Multiple myeloma is cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow.
The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms.
- People who have mild disease or a questionable diagnosis are usually carefully monitored without treatment.
- Some people have a slow-developing form of multiple myeloma that takes years to cause symptoms.
- Treatment begins when the disease becomes worse or causes symptoms.
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be performed to relieve bone pain or treat a bone tumor.
- Bone marrow transplantation in younger patients has been shown to increase disease-free and overall survival, but it has significant risks.
- Medications for multiple myeloma include decadron, melophalan, thalidomide,lenalidomide (Revlimid), and bortezomib (Velcade). Bisphosphonates are used to prevent fractures.
- People with multiple myeloma should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and help maintain proper kidney function. They should also be cautious when having x-ray tests that use contrast dye.
- Chemotherapy and transplants rarely lead to a permanent cure.
Kidney failure is a frequent complication. Other complications may include:
- Bone fractures
- Increased chances for infection (especially pneumonia)
- Paralysis from tumor or spinal cord compression
There are no clearly-established risk factors for multiple myeloma and it is possible that a combination of factors interact to cause the disease. Thus, there is no method for preventing multiple myeloma.